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After tennis champ turned homophobic minister Margaret Court attacked transgender athletes in a sermon, lesbian tennis great Martina Navratilova volleyed back and accused the longtime rival of using religion to justify hate.
"Margaret Court is hiding behind her Bible as many have done before her and will do after her," Navratilova tweeted. "Let's not keep elevating it."
Navratilova, who came out in 1981, has publicly feuded with Court for years. That seems an inevitability for two of the biggest tennis stars of a generation, one of them an outspoken social conservative and the other one of the most prominent lesbian athletes of all time.
But the substance of the recent disagreement seems especially notable as Navratilova dealt with her own disagreements with transgender athletes.
Court has come under fire for a December sermon where she went on an extended rant against transgender individuals. That included a common trope about trans athletes.
"And you know with that GBT, they'll wish they never put the T on the end of it because, particularly in women's sports, they're going to have so many problems," Court preached, according to Sporting News.
Bridgewater State University professor Matt Bell suggested Court's comments will likely spark protests at the upcoming Australia Open, which will happen at the Margaret Court Arena.
That prompted Navratilova's recent tweet.
"It's outrageous and so wrong," she wrote. "We don't need to change or re-write history when it comes to anyone's accomplishments but we do not need to celebrate them."
But she has faced her own controversies over the subject of trans athletes. Less than a year ago, she withered criticism over a Sunday Times of Londoncolumn suggesting trans women competing in women's sports were "cheating." That prompted advocacy groups like Athlete Ally to cut ties with her. She ultimately apologized for her terminology, and in June even hosted a BBC documentary special on the struggles trans athletes face.
For her part, Navratilova said she has been consistent in a pursuit of fairness in sports. After this story was published, she tweeted that she has "never been not supportive of trans people in sports. But- it must be fair. And according to many transgender and transsexual people themselves, it's not fair."
\u201c@jacobogles Never been not supportive of trans people in sports. But- it must be fair. And according to many transgender and transsexual people themselves, it\u2019s not fair. So there is that\u2026.\u201d— Jacob Ogles (@Jacob Ogles) 1578410585